April 2008

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Monster vs. Aliens - Where's Rex Havoc?

Monsters vs. Aliens concept art featuring the towering Insectosaurus, 50-foot tall Ginormica Susan Murphy, Dr. Cockroach, B.O.B. and  Missing Link.Paramount has unveiled more details around its first computer animated 3-D picture. First word was the movie was based on an old Warren publication titled, Rex Havoc: Asskickers of the Fantastic. The new details about the film indicate it might be something else.

The movie is being produced in Ultimate 3-D technology for digital distribution, making it a computer animated movie produced with 3-D in mind from the outset, as opposed to movies like Meet the Robinsons that were adapted for 3-D. According to Dreamworks Animation head Jeffrey Katzenberg, digital projection will result in a perfect image on the screen, ”There is no ghosting, eye strain or nausea.”

So, 3-D aside, what is Monsters vs. Aliens about? "It’s described as a throwback to the old B-movie days of the ‘50s where a Martian invasion was just moments away and you could expect to see a science-created rubber monster around every corner." Katzenberg then showed off a 3-D clip of Monsters vs. Aliens, in which an alien spaceship is fired on by the military as the president fires a few rounds from a handgun, shouting "I'm a brave president!"

Reese Witherspoon is the voice talent as Susan Murphy, a modern-day California girl who has the bad luck to be hit by a meteor filled with space goo on her wedding day and grows to be 49 feet, 11½ inches tall (a wink at 1958's The Attack of the 50-Foot Woman). Captured by the military, she discovers they’ve been capturing a variety of monsters for years. They rename her Ginormica.

"I got very inspired when the studio showed me storyboards," says the 5-foot-2 actress. "Playing a larger-than-life woman has given me my own opportunity to make tall jokes." She also is no stranger to cinematic cheese. "My father was a fan of Roger Corman movies," she says. "I watched a lot of those on late-night TV."

Joining her to fend off Rainn Wilson's evil alien Gallaxhar are Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D. (Hugh Laurie), the jellylike B.O.B. (Seth Rogen) and the half-ape, half-fish Missing Link (Will Arnett). Kiefer Sutherland speaks for Gen. W.R. Monger and Stephen Colbert is the president.

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Tron 3-D: First News

Tron 3DIt's been over 25 years since the original Tron took drive-in theatres by storm, but it looks like Tron fever may be sweeping the nation again in the next decade. According to film site Dark Horizons, Disney has plans to release a 3-D sequel to the video game film, using the same technology in previous 3-D efforts such as Chicken Little and The Nightmare Before Christmas.

The Hollywood Reporter previously wrote that Joseph Kosinski, currently said to be working on a Logan's Run remake, will be helming the project and that Lost writers Eddie Kitsis and Adam Horowitz would write the script.

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Double Vision: 1930s Design at Winterthur

Winterthur stereocardBefore high-definition TV, before DVD rentals, before movies on demand, home entertainment often meant stereographs. To get the idea, think View-Master®, an iconic baby-boomer toy that offered captivating 3-dimensional reel images of everything from western landscapes to TV action heroes.

Now, turn your gaze to a new exhibit at the Winterthur museum, that will have you seeing double, at least until you put on 3-D glasses.

Double Vision: 1930s Design at Winterthur, offers the first public display of stereographs taken of the rooms and gardens at Winterthur in 1935 and 1938, before the private home of Henry Francis du Pont became a museum.

Stereographs are paired photographs taken with a camera that has two sets of lenses spaced about 2 1/2 inches apart, about the same distance between a person's eyes. The images are then mounted on card stock for viewing through a stereoscope, which itself has two sets of lenses that transform the side-by-side 2-dimensional images into one 3-dimensional image.

While stereographs were once a popular form of entertainment, and later a widely used educational tool, their use at Winterthur was more documentary, as du Pont recorded for himself and his guests his early approach to design and decoration.

"What the exhibit does is take you to the birth of Winterthur in the 1930s," said Tom Savage, director of museum affairs.

The exhibit, which was to open Saturday and run through May 18, offers a glimpse at design styles, including art deco, Colonial Revival and Hollywood Regency. Period music playing softly in the background, along with black-and-white movie clips, enhances the mood.

The exhibit is being displayed in conjunction with Winterthur's second annual Chic It Up! design conference beginning May 16, which will focus on American design in the 1930s.

A six-minute 3-D film, during which some furniture seems to float in mid-air, offers a good introduction to the exhibit, which also offers visitors the opportunity to tour and compare rooms as they look now against what they looked like more than 60 years ago. The roughly 100 stereographs on display, representative of more than 300 in the Winterthur collection, show that some rooms haven't changed much since du Pont lived there, while others have undergone what amounts to a blue-blooded version of Extreme Makeover.

"These stereoviews were taken during du Pont's most active period of collecting," said Winterthur estate historian Maggie Lidz. "This was the first version of the rooms visitors now tour."

Savage said he came up with the idea for the exhibit shortly after he arrived at Winterthur two years ago and saw the stereographs during a tour of the library.

"They blew my mind," he said. "It took me right back to using my View-Master® when I was a six-year-old."

The Winterthur stereographs were shot by photographer Robert Brost, then handpainted by artist Annette Karge.

"In and of themselves, they are completely works of art," said Savage, calling Karge the Monet of stereoview.

Brost and Karge were employees of the Keystone View Co., which was founded in 1892 in Meadville, Pa., and became a dominant player in the industry.

Meadville is now home to the Johnson-Shaw Stereoscopic Museum, which has more than 60,000 stereoviews from Keystone, which was acquired in the 1960s by the Mast Development Co. of Iowa. The bulk of Keystone's vast archive, more than 300,000 stereoscopic prints and negatives known as the Keystone-Mast collection, was donated by the Mast family to the California Museum of Photography at the University of California, Riverside in the 1970s.

Dating to the mid-19th century, stereographs reached their zenith of popularity around the turn of the century, before the advent of radio and motion pictures. Lance Johnson of the Johnson-Shaw museum said Keystone and other companies often developed boxed sets, or books, of stereoscopic images, which were sold door to door. One of Keystone's most popular volumes was a 1,200-image tour of the world, marketed in books of 100 images each.

"You could sit in your parlor on Sunday afternoon with your stereoscope and your 100 views and you could literally take a trip around the world," Johnson said.

Du Pont had a slightly different twist, however. His images were intended not to give visitors a view of the world, but to document the design elements of his estate and to offer guests an idea of how the estate's rooms and gardens looked during different seasons of the year.

Also, when du Pont held stereoscope parties, his guests didn't have to worry about changing cards in their viewers; butlers were on hand to do it for them.

Winterthur is a great American country estate nestled in the heart of Delaware's beautiful Brandywine Valley, halfway between New York City and Washington, D.C.

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Booty 3-D and Piranhas 3-D on Fast Track

Stereo Vision Entertainment logoStereo Vision Entertainment Inc., a film production company focused exclusively on developing high quality, low cost, polarized 3-D feature films, announced today that "Piranhas 3-D" and "Booty 3-D" will be presented to the foreign sales agents in May, at the Cannes Film Festival, in Cannes, France. Stereo Vision will also be premiering in Cannes the "Booty" trailer.

Stereo Vision's Chief Executive Officer, Jack Honour, stated, "Booty 3-D and Piranhas 3-D are on the fast track. We've received legitimate interest from some of the major stars on our wish list, and we are making every effort to attach significant talent before Cannes. We're taking Piranhas 3-D and Booty 3-D to Cannes to garner the attention necessary to generate foreign distribution advances. So far, from the studios to the talent, the Booty trailer is getting high praise."

Stereo Vision's Chairman and Chief Production Officer, Baywatch creator Doug Schwartz, added, "Piranhas 3-D is an edge-of-your-seat, in your face, terrifying creature thriller, to be filmed in blasting off the screen digital polarized state-of-the-art 3-D!! It's in the tone of Lara Croft, Tomb Raider meets Descent. The original contemporary story line revolves around a group of young video game designers, and video game actors, who travel from Northern California to the deepest darkest jungles along the Amazon to shoot underwater cave sequences for their newest 3-D video game titled, ‘Aubrey Blaze, Piranhas 3-D.’ Their dive immediately takes them to a place where they’ve never been, and from where they may never return. Piranhas 3-D will be PG rated and is to be filmed in the phosphorescent underground caves of Puerto Rico. With all this action and interaction, Piranhas 3-D should be a real thrill ride for both parents and kids alike.

"Booty 3-D is a frolicking family fun PG rated movie about eight women who get kidnapped by a band of cutthroat pirates. Upon arriving at the pirates' island hideout, they turn the tables when they snatch the pirates' ship filled with all their booty. A chase across the high seas ensues that rivals 'Thelma and Louise' as the desperate band of pirates attempts, by hook or by crook, to track down their treasure-laden galleon, and the crafty wenches that tricked them out of it. This is a movie about female empowerment, good versus evil, a true David and Goliath tale with a twist. Booty 3-D is to be filmed on the South Seas paradise island of Fiji, in state-of-the-art digital 3-D. It will be filled with blue skies, spectacular South Pacific scenery, beautiful women, and despicable pirates. Booty 3-D is the kind of movie that will be fun for the whole family."

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Actress Martina Gedeck Narrates German Version of Dolphins and Whales 3-D: Tribes of the Ocean

Dolphins and Whales 3-D poster artJean-Jacques and Francois Mantello (the Mantello Brothers) and Jean-Michel Cousteau are pleased to announce that the German version of their new 3-D film, Dolphins and Whales 3-D: Tribes of the Ocean, will be narrated by actress Martina Gedeck.

"We are thrilled to have such a critically-acclaimed actress as Martina Gedeck lend her voice to the German narration of Dolphins and Whales 3-D," said Francois Mantello, the film's producer and chairman of 3-D Entertainment. "Following Daryl Hannah as the film's English-language narrator, we could not have dreamt of a more inspiring personality in Germany to embrace the cause of ocean conservation and shed light on the urgent need to protect small and giant cetaceans. Dolphins and Whales 3-D marks the first time an IMAX theatre film has ever been voiced by renowned actresses in two different languages."

Martina Gedeck said, "As soon as I first read the script I knew I had to be involved in this project. As an actress, Dolphins and Whales 3-D represented an ideal means of working with my voice to lend emotion to these unbelievable 3-D images.

It was even more important for me personally to echo the terrible situation in which marine mammals currently find themselves. I am proud to be able to help cetaceans in my own humble way. When you watch this film in 3-D, you cannot help but feel a direct connection with these marine mammals. We breathe the same air, we educate our young, we have similar social attitudes.

Contrary to what most of us, including me until recently, seem to believe, cetaceans are not safe. That is why we all need to understand that these populations at at-risk today, weakened by uncontrolled human activities that led to the destruction of the underwater world and depletion of food resources."

The European premiere of Dolphins and Whales 3-D was held on March 10, 2008 at the Cinestar IMAX 3-D-Kino im Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, in the presence of Jean-Michel Cousteau, Martina Gedeck and the Mantello Brothers. The film opened to the public three days later, on March 13, in Germany at the IMAX 3-D im Potsdamer Platz, IMAX am Cinecitta Multiplexkino, Auto & Technik Museum Sinsheim IMAX 3-D Filmtheater, as well as at Cinemagnum 3-D Kinos in Frankfurt, Dresden, Weimar and Wuerzburg and other select Digital 3-D Cinemas across the country.

One of the most renowned and respected actresses in Germany, Martina Gedeck was born in Munich and spent her childhood in Landshut (Bavaria) and Berlin. After spending a year in the US and graduating from high school in Germany, she studied drama at the prestigious Max-Reinhardt-Seminar at the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK). She made her stage debut at Frankfurt's theatre am Turm, going on to perform at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg, the Hamburger Kammerspiele, Kampnagel Hamburg and at the Schauspielhaus Basel in Switzerland. She has also starred in critically-acclaimed feature films including Lives of Others by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck and Robert de Niro's "The Good Shepherd".

Jean-Michel Cousteau's Dolphins and Whales 3-D immerses viewers in the daily lives of small and giant cetaceans as they interact socially, play, communicate, feed, breed, migrate and fight for their survival. It also delivers a powerful message in favor of the protection of these tribes while they are facing the greatest challenge of all: to survive the destruction of their habitat and depletion of food resources. The film marks the first time that humpback whales, belugas, orcas, bottlenose dolphins and manatees have been filmed in 3-D for the world's biggest screens.

Three years in the making, the film required no fewer than 12 international expeditions and 600 hours spent underwater at some of the remotest locations on Earth, including off the Pacific Ocean atolls of Moorea and Rurutu (French Polynesia), Vava'u Island (Kingdom of Tonga), Pico Island (Azores) and the Valdez Peninsula (Argentina). Unlike other IMAX-type films, it was shot entirely in the wild and consists solely of underwater footage, with no humans on screen.

The film is produced and released by 3-D Entertainment and its distribution unit in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Program, Ocean Futures Society, the Convention on Migratory Species, PADI's Project Aware and Reef Check.

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Next Wave of 3-D is So Close You Can Almost Touch It - Live Events in 3-D Theatres

3-D TheatreAccording to writer Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that live 3-D events are coming to theatres. Working with Pace, the NBA began testing in this arena a year ago, when the league and the 3-D innovator teamed to present invite-only live 3-D HD viewing parties at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas of the NBA's All-Star Saturday Night and the 56th All-Star Game. Additionally, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the NBA, along with Pace, offered a live 3-D HD screening in Cleveland of the NBA Finals from San Antonio. An estimated 14,000 turned out for the event.

A timely concert also could be a big attraction, as Disney proved last month when it opened Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert in digital 3-D on 683 screens. The feature opened No. 1 at the boxoffice and went on to earn a whopping $63 million.

The concert film opened Feb. 1, the day after the live tour wrapped and after a breakneck 11-week postproduction schedule.

"Material that reaches the theatre and has some time sensitivity to it is part of the draw," said Pace, who was an executive producer on "Hannah Montana." "I think that's where alternative content and films of that nature are going to head."

He said a driving force was to produce Hannah Montana quickly enough "to take advantage of the fact that this is something that people are aware of and were interested in. I think this was a complement to the concert rather than a byproduct."

The movement toward 2-D broadcasts have already started. Last month, for example, Walt Disney Studios, ESPN and digital-cinema provider Access Integrated Technologies delivered a live HD broadcast of college basketball, the University of Texas vs. Texas A&M, live on 15 digital-cinema screens in Texas. It marked the first event at which AccessIT's CineLive technology, which enables live 2-D and 3-D streaming of content to theatres, was employed for a major sports event since the technology was announced last fall.

Broadcasting live 2-D content is more manageable. "The challenge with 3-D is we need twice as much bandwidth to deliver the same amount of content," Greer said.

A final factor is the possibility of broadcasting live 3-D content to the home. The first 3-D-ready TV sets have been unveiled, but delivery standards (viewed as a critical issue), content availability, set penetration and a quantifiable audience are just a few of the challenges that must be addressed.

Some also believe that autostereo technology (enabling the viewing of 3-D without the use of special glasses) is needed for in-home 3-D to really happen. And again, a sort chicken-and-egg scenario will exist because there is no real installed base of viewers yet, nor is there a steady stream of content.

Meanwhile, broadcasters are focused on the analog shut-off, now less than a year away.

"I also think the quality of 3-D entertainment as it translates to the home is still one to two years away," Pace said. "That doesn't mean you'll not start to see material being presented prior to that."

Get ready for a radical change in thinking about theatrical entertainment.

Alternative content is not a new concept, but the next new thing to enter the dialogue are events broadcast live to theatres in 3-D. That could mean fans will head to their local theatres for a group 3-D viewing of the NBA Finals or the Super Bowl, stadium concerts and the like.

And it is closer than many realize.

"I think the public can expect to see a live 3-D broadcast in a theatre in 2008," said Vince Pace, founder of 3-D production innovator Pace in Burbank. "(It is) possible today with existing technology."

Pace and others are encouraged to see stakeholders getting involved in these discussions.

"About 12 live events are being discussed; which ones will actually make it is hard to say," Real D president Joshua Greer said.

The issues that need to be overcome include a variety of business and deployment factors.

"It's not the technology that is holding up a live broadcast to the theatres. It's rights and business case, putting together something that make sense from a financial point of view," 3ality Digital founder and CEO Steve Schklair said. "If you were to do a live sports broadcast, you would want it to be an event of some stature because that is what would bring people to theatres. (But) rights to any events of stature, the Super Bowl, World Cup, are pretty well sewn up by the broadcasters. That has to be dealt with."

Schklair added that from a financial standpoint, a 3-D broadcast would involve production and theatre costs "and in the middle, two rights-holders, the league and the broadcasters, that already have the rights."

Still, Marty Schindler, principal in consulting firm the Schindler Perspective, said, "There are deals to be had, but it requires a lot of effort on a lot of people's parts."

Mike Rokosa, the NBA's vp engineering, brings a different perspective to the discussion. "I don't think rights would be the holdup as much as, right now, the volume (of theatres) that have the connectivity to receive a live signal, which is quite limited," he said. "If there were a fair number of venues that were able to take a live feed, then we'd have something that we could at least start to talk about."

Greer had similar thoughts.

"We still haven't sent the large-scale rollout of satellite technology, so while (live broadcasts) can be done, the question is, where can you put it? ... Over the next six months you will see a multitude of tests with all different types of content. But if you are going to rent satellite time, you want to have thousands of theatres, and that is still going to take a little time."

From a technical standpoint, if a theatre already is equipped with a digital-cinema system and 3-D capabilities, a satellite dish or some sort of bandwidth connection and a decoder also would be required. Rokosa said they are not an enormous additional expense, but there is a Catch-22: "If they are going to invest a couple grand to do this, where is the content?" he said. "It is a little bit of a quandary."

Said Greer, "To me, the much bigger issue is who is going to pay for the satellite transmission and the production."

Such companies as Pace and 3ality have been developing 3-D production and post techniques for the challenging shoots. Pace is one of a small number of companies that developed a 3-D broadcast news van.

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OWN3D

OWN3-D logoOwned Entertainment Inc. announced the MMA based movie OWN3D will be released theatrically in both 3-D as well as 2-D. The movie will be shot using the same camera technology used in the U2 3-D concert as well Hannah Montana 3-D which made $29 million opening weekend on only 600 screens averaging $42,460 per screen. 3-D technology is not the same as the gimmicks of past and Hollywood has taken notice.

Movies shown in 3-D average three times as much per screen at the box office as regular releases and are shown using the latest innovations in technology. The technology allows for release on IMAX 3-D, Real D as well as Dolby 3-D screens. Mr. Hergott’s first movie All That I Need was shot on a shoe-string budget yet was released theatrically in Regal, Edwards and United Artists multiplexes nationally. Hergott comments; “With a predicted 7,000 screens in 3-D by 2009, but only a handful of 3-D releases per year, there is a huge demand for more 3-D content. By shooting the movie in 3-D we can bring the audience into the action. Owned Entertainment wants to be on the forefront of where the future of the industry is headed.” ‘Owned’ 3-D release version will be marketed as OWN3D with a ‘3’ taking place of the inverted ‘E’.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation, recently commented on 3-D: "3-D has the opportunity to be the most important innovation in film since the use of color in motion pictures. 90 percent of all piracy comes from a camcorder aimed at the screen. You can't camcorder 3-D movies. All Dreamworks animated movies from 2009 on will be created and shown in 3-D." Investors are also beginning to take notice. Shamrock capital growth fund recently invested $50 million in Real D technology. Managing director Stephen Royer commented “The 3-D market is at a point of explosive growth." "OWN3D (the movie) is an exciting action thriller set in the world of MMA that will be theatrically released in both 2-D and 3-D. We will be looking for a combination of talented actors and MMA fighters for the movie."

Recently announced fighters for the movie include Dean Lister, Jason Mayhem Miller, Cung Le, Shonie Carter, Din Thomas and Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and Murilo ‘Ninja’ Rua.

For more information on the OWN3D movie visit mmamovie.com, ownedentertainment.com and the official OWN3D myspace at http://www.myspace.com/ownedentertainmentinc. For information on auditioning for OWN3D you simply text the word ‘AUDITION’ to phone number 41513. Standard texting rates apply, but there are no additional charges. OWN3D was recently announced as the official movie of NAMMAE, the largest MMA trade show in North America.

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Studios Announce a Deal to Help Cinemas Go 3-D

The original 20th Century Fox logoEager to get American cinema complexes ready for a surge in 3-D movies next year, four major Hollywood studios announced a deal to subsidize the conversion of 10,000 theatres to digital projection systems.

The announcement, at ShoWest, the annual trade show that gathers theatre owners and movie distributors here, overlooked one point. The theatres that could be converted under the deal have yet to agree to it.

The motion picture industry is racing to roll out digital projectors, not just because they avoid the costly printing and shipping of reels of film, but also because they’re needed to show the current generation of 3-D films, which have often been bonanzas at the box office. One, Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert, generated $31 million its opening weekend on only 683 screens, about one-fifth as many as the typical wide release.

Under the deal announced, the Walt Disney Company, 20th Century Fox, Paramount and Universal all agreed to pay “virtual print fees” for each movie they distribute digitally to the participating theatres. Theatre owners will use the fees to buy the projectors, servers and other equipment needed, about $75,000 for each auditorium.

Also, Paramount executives confirmed that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull would be released digitally, though its director, Steven Spielberg, has long insisted that his movies be released exclusively on film. Every movie that earned more than $100 million last year was released both digitally and on film.

Access Integrated Technologies concluded a first round of 3,740 theatre conversions last year. It now must go out and sell its systems to other cinema owners. It has three years to accomplish those installations; the studios will pay the virtual print fees for up to 10 years.

The size of these virtual print fees was not disclosed, but one person involved said it would be around $800 per movie, per theatre, down from about $1,000 in the first phase.

Chuck Viane, president of distribution at Disney, said the studios were insistent that theatre owners cover more of the cost of converting, including maintenance. “We’ve always felt that exhibition had to have some skin in the game,” he said.

The announcement came as, in a separate deal, the nation’s three largest theatre chains, Regal, Cinemark and AMC, were negotiating for what Variety reported would be a $1.1 billion line of credit to finance the conversion of their theatres to digital cinema. The three, bargaining as Digital Cinema Implementation Partners, own about 14,000 of the nation’s 37,000 screens.

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Disney Pixar's UP in 3-D Scheduled to Hit Theatres June 12, 2009

Pixar Mickey Logo

It has been reported that Disney Pixar's 2009 release titled Up will be released in Disney Digital 3-D. According to Pixar, "Our hero travels the globe, fights beasts and villains and eats dinner at 3:30 in the afternoon."

Synopsis
A coming-of-old-age story about a 70-something guy who lives in a house that "looks like your grandparents' house smelled." He befriends a clueless young Wilderness Ranger and gets into lots of altercations.

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Grand Canyon Adventure 3-D: River at Risk

Grand Canyon 3-D: River at Risk poster artSet against the immense backdrop of a natural treasure, Grand Canyon Adventure 3-D: River at Risk will take audiences on an exhilarating adventure down the Colorado River in the company of a team of explorers who are committed to bringing awareness to global water issues.

One of the world's mightiest rivers, the Colorado, no longer reaches the sea. Every drop of river water is allocated to agriculture and populations along the way, many of whom don't even realize their connection to the river.

Narrated by Robert Redford, the river journey is a compelling and emotional personal story for the film's main characters, two fathers and their 18-year old daughters who soon will be leaving home to make their own way.

The cinematic guides include the renowned Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a leading advocate for water conservation and river restoration, and his daughter Kick. Image from Grand Canyon Adventure 3-D: River at Risk.They are joined by Wade Davis, an ethno-botanist and author who has traveled the world studying other cultures, and his daughter Tara. Shana Watahomigie, who grew up at the Canyon's edge with her Havasupai family, is their Grand Canyon guide.

As the expedition journeys down river, audiences will learn about the challenges and opportunities that exist for conserving and restoring watersheds. A MacGillivray Freeman Film that combines science and adventure with some of giant screen cinema's most compelling imagery and locations, Grand Canyon Adventure 3-D: River at Risk delivers a message of hope and inspiration.

This is MacGillivray Freeman's first-ever 3-D film for IMAX Theatres and will provide audiences with a unique experience. "A river trip is one of those amazing life events where you're ripped out of your daily routine and inspired to see the world in new ways. With IMAX 3-D images, we're able to put the audience even more into the action and let them participate in every twist and turn," says the film's two-time Academy Award-nominated producer/director Greg MacGillivray.

A stirring score featuring songs and music from the Grammy Award-winning Dave Matthews Band sets the mood for this adventure that explores the spiritual, artistic and life-sustaining powers of water, and makes crystal clear that each of us must do our part to better manage this crucial resource for the future.

Grand Canyon Adventure 3-D: River at Risk is produced by MacGillivray Freeman Films and MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundation in association with Waterkeeper Alliance and Museum Film Network, presented by Teva and supported by Kohler Co. The film is directed by Greg MacGillivray, produced by Greg MacGillivray, Mark Krenzien, and Shaun Ma.

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George Lucas Tells Entertainment Weekly Converting the Original Six Star Wars Movies to 3-D is Still On

Entertainment Weekly interviewed George Lucas at the ShowWest Convention in Las Vegas and asked "When you were here at ShoWest three years ago, you talked about converting all six of the Star Wars films into 3-D. Is that something that's still going forward?"

According to Lucas, "It's still on. It's just that, technically, it's a much harder thing to pull off than we thought. So we've been working on how to get it done, we're still in the middle of research and development, so to speak. But we're getting closer now. The field (of 3-D) is opening up a little bit. It's a hard thing because it takes a lot of talented people, like, 100 or 150, and since it's a craft that nobody's been trained to do before, it's a little tricky. So it's hard. But it'll get there.

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Kung Fu U 3-D to Star Hulk Hogan

Stereo Vision Entertainment logoStereo Vision Entertainment Inc. has announced that Hulk Hogan has been signed to star in its independent production of Kung Fu U 3-D.

Stereo Vision's Chief Executive Officer Jack Honour said, "I'm very happy to report that Hulk Hogan has agreed to star in our martial arts comedy, Kung Fu U 3-D. Along with his enormous worldwide following of Hulkamaniacs, he has the hottest reality show on television right now with American Gladiators, and we're thrilled to have him bringing all of that energy and enthusiasm to our Kung Fu U 3-D project. Stereo Vision's Chairman Doug Schwartz, has worked with Hulk Hogan on several feature films in the past including Assault on Devils Island, Shadow Warriors, and their big hit together, Thunder in Paradise.”

Stereo Vision's Chairman and Chief Production Officer, Baywatch creator Doug Schwartz, commented, "Kung Fu U 3-D is the story of a bunch of nerds and misfits that are sent away by their wealthy parents to the Brentwood Academy, (a.k.a. Kung Fu U) to learn the finer arts of self defense. It's a heart warming romp where the somewhat weathered warriors come to the rescue for the kids, and in turn, the kids rescue the warriors’ souls from what had been their eternal apathy. It's a feel-good story that reminds us that we're all the same, no matter what our age, and that we should all stick together. We plan to film the PG-rated Kung Fu U 3-D in Louisiana with a release date for Kung Fu U 3-D by spring 2009."

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Shadow Vision 3-D

Empire Film Group logoIn response to consumer demand and requests from key theatre chains at the Showest convention in Las Vegas, Empire Film Group Inc. has announced that it will upgrade its current production of Shadow Vision to conform with the hugely popular new Real D 3-D theatrical format from Real D Cinema. Recently released films in the Real D 3-D format include Beowulf and Hannah Montana, both of which generated record-breaking per screen averages from 3-D locations, eight times greater box office revenues than standard format theatres.

"Movie goers want to be dazzled," said Empire CEO Dean Hamilton-Bornstein. "As big screens and home projection systems become more common, consumers are demanding a bigger, better movie experience from theatres. The Real D 3-D format meets this challenge as it delivers a stunning, perfectly sharp 3-D image, free of frame jitter or left eye-right eye issues that plagued previous attempts at 3-D exhibition. It's clear that the major studios plan to respond to this demand but cannot move as quickly as we are at Empire Film Group with Shadow Vision and other upcoming 3-D features."

In response to the sudden popularity of the Real D 3-D format, New Line Cinema will be releasing Journey to the Center of the Earth starring Brendan Fraser on July 11 in 3-D. However, very few if any new 3-D releases will be available for the next year, despite the announcement by Dreamworks chief Jeffrey Katzenberg that all of their future animated features will be released in 3-D. The only major live-action 3-D feature, Avatar, from director James Cameron, has been delayed for release until December 2009, opening a window of 18-months for Empire Film Group with virtually no competition in the live-action, 3-D arena.

"We see an opportunity to generate tens of millions of dollars at the box office with Shadow Vision and other Empire 3-D releases," said Eric Parkinson, CEO of Empire Home Entertainment, the distribution division of Empire Film Group, Inc. "Both theatre owners and consumers are asking for more, live-action releases in 3-D, and we intend to deliver."

Shadow Vision stars Vivian Schilling as a blind woman who develops the ability to remotely sense and visualize crimes. The film will be directed by Eric Parkinson from his original screenplay, with 3-D cinematography by Andrew Parke, whose credits include the recent Lionsgate release of Night of the Living Dead: 3-D. Bruce Branit (Sin City) will handle visual effects, with Dan Symmes supervising the 3-D technology. Principal photography will commence in late May, with a 3-D theatrical release targeted for February 2009.

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Stanford Researchers Developing 3-D Camera with 12,616 Lenses

3-D image sensorThe camera you own has one main lens and produces a flat, two-dimensional photograph, whether you hold it in your hand or view it on your computer screen. On the other hand, a camera with two lenses (or two cameras placed apart from each other) can take more interesting 3-D photos.

But what if your digital camera saw the world through thousands of tiny lenses, each a miniature camera unto itself? You'd get a 2-D photo, but you'd also get something potentially more valuable: an electronic "depth map" containing the distance from the camera to every object in the picture, a kind of super 3-D.

Stanford electronics researchers, lead by electrical engineering Professor Abbas El Gamal, are developing such a camera, built around their "multi-aperture image sensor." They've shrunk the pixels on the sensor to 0.7 microns, several times smaller than pixels in standard digital cameras. They've grouped the pixels in arrays of 256 pixels each, and they're preparing to place a tiny lens atop each array.

"It's like having a lot of cameras on a single chip," said Keith Fife, a graduate student working with El Gamal and another electrical engineering professor, H.-S. Philip Wong. In fact, if their prototype 3-megapixel chip had all its micro lenses in place, they would add up to 12,616 "cameras."

Point such a camera at someone's face, and it would, in addition to taking a photo, precisely record the distances to the subject's eyes, nose, ears, chin, etc. One obvious potential use of the technology: facial recognition for security purposes.

But there are a number of other possibilities for a depth-information camera: biological imaging, 3-D printing, creation of 3-D objects or people to inhabit virtual worlds, or 3-D modeling of buildings.

The technology is expected to produce a photo in which almost everything, near or far, is in focus. But it would be possible to selectively defocus parts of the photo after the fact, using editing software on a computer

Knowing the exact distance to an object might give robots better spatial vision than humans and allow them to perform delicate tasks now beyond their abilities. "People are coming up with many things they might do with this," Fife said. The three researchers published a paper on their work in the February edition of the IEEE ISSCC Digest of Technical Papers.

Their multi-aperture camera would look and feel like an ordinary camera, or even a smaller cell phone camera. The cell phone aspect is important, Fife said, given that "the majority of the cameras in the world are now on phones."

How it works
The main lens (also known as the objective lens) of an ordinary digital camera focuses its image directly on the camera's image sensor, which records the photo. The objective lens of the multi-aperture camera, on the other hand, focuses its image about 40 microns (a micron is a millionth of a meter) above the image sensor arrays. As a result, any point in the photo is captured by at least four of the chip's mini-cameras, producing overlapping views, each from a slightly different perspective, just as the left eye of a human sees things differently than the right eye.

The outcome is a detailed depth map, invisible in the photograph itself but electronically stored along with it. It's a virtual model of the scene, ready for manipulation by computation. "You can choose to do things with that image that you weren't able to do with the regular 2-D image," Fife said. "You can say, 'I want to see only the objects at this distance,' and suddenly they'll appear for you. And you can wipe away everything else."

Or the sensor could be deployed naked, with no objective lens at all. By placing the sensor very close to an object, each micro lens would take its own photo without the need for an objective lens. It has been suggested that a very small probe could be placed against the brain of a laboratory mouse, for example, to detect the location of neural activity.

Other researchers are headed toward similar depth-map goals from different approaches. Some use intelligent software to inspect ordinary 2-D photos for the edges, shadows or focus differences that might infer the distances of objects. Others have tried cameras with multiple lenses, or prisms mounted in front of a single camera lens. One approach employs lasers; another attempts to stitch together photos taken from different angles, while yet another involves video shot from a moving camera.

But El Gamal, Fife and Wong believe their multi-aperture sensor has some key advantages. It's small and doesn't require lasers, bulky camera gear, multiple photos or complex calibration. And it has excellent color quality. Each of the 256 pixels in a specific array detects the same color. In an ordinary digital camera, red pixels may be arranged next to green pixels, leading to undesirable "crosstalk" between the pixels that degrade color.

The sensor also can take advantage of smaller pixels in a way that an ordinary digital camera cannot, El Gamal said, because camera lenses are nearing the optical limit of the smallest spot they can resolve. Using a pixel smaller than that spot will not produce a better photo. But with the multi-aperture sensor, smaller pixels produce even more depth information, he said.

The technology also may aid the quest for the huge photos possible with a gigapixel camera, that's 140 times as many pixels as today's typical 7-megapixel cameras. The first benefit of the Stanford technology is straightforward: Smaller pixels mean more pixels can be crowded onto the chip.

The second benefit involves chip architecture. With a billion pixels on one chip, some of them are sure to go bad, leaving dead spots, El Gamal said. But the overlapping views provided by the multi-aperture sensor provide backups when pixels fail.

The researchers are now working out the manufacturing details of fabricating the micro-optics onto a camera chip.

The finished product may cost less than existing digital cameras, the researchers say, because the quality of a camera's main lens will no longer be of paramount importance. "We believe that you can reduce the complexity of the main lens by shifting the complexity to the semiconductor," Fife said.

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Mortician Comes to Life in 3-D

According to Variety, U.K. production companies Aria Films and Full Circle Films are combining with post-production facility Axis3D to make The Mortician, a thriller in 3-D.

The redemption tale in which kindness triumphs over cruelty falls within the urban noir, contemporary fairy tale and psychological thriller genres.

Full Circle Films' principal Gareth Maxwell Roberts penned the script and is set to direct, with Aria topper Carlo Dusi producing. Dusi produced Roberts' 2006 debut feature Kill Kill Faster Faster.

Casting is under way on the pic, which is skedded to shoot in early 2009 and will be delivered in regular format as well as 3-D.

Axis3D will provide all equipment required to shoot the film in 3-D. All post-production for the feature will be completed using the Axis3D suite at Concrete in London's Soho.

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3-D TV Takes a Technological Leap to the Third Dimension in Britain

3-D glassesWhen England played Scotland in the Six Nations, 200 people in London saw it as though they were sitting in Murrayfield Stadium. Richard Gillis dons special glasses to see what all the fuss is about

Forty years after the inaugural colour TV broadcast was shown at the Riverside Studios, in west London, the same venue hosted another first this month: a live 3-D test transmission beamed in by satellite. The event was England's RBS Six Nations rugby match against Scotland, shown to a select group of 200 people from across the sport, music and media industries.

The audience sat wearing special 3-D glasses as BBC Sport, working in partnership with the 3-D Firm, a consortium of specialist companies, sent pictures from Murrayfield to London, overlaid with a running commentary taken from Radio 5 Live.

By using only three cameras, the production had a minimalist feel and later one camera was withdrawn due to rain. As the audience emerged blinking from the auditorium, several likened the experience to that of being at a live game, and it was only the shocking quality of the rugby that led many people to stay in the bar for the second half.

Most of those present saw enough to suggest that live 3-D was part of television's future, though how is unclear. There is speculation that major events such as the Olympics and World Cup will now be screened live in 3-D on big screens in major cities.

Aashish Chandarana, former Head of Innovation at BBC Sport, says the BBC has no plans for other live 3-D transmissions. "It's important that we are always looking to see how we can improve things for audiences and this was about understanding the broadcast end of the chain. But what the market will take from this remains to be seen".

Current demand for 3-D is coming mainly from the commercial sector, where a number of business models are emerging. However, as more content becomes available, the greater the push into the home market will be.

"For the time being screening will be limited to cinemas or bespoke locations," said Chris Dyer, operations director of Can Communicate, one of the firms in the 3-D Consortium. He thinks that premium events, where the demand for tickets outstrips supply, lend themselves better to successful live 3-D transmission. Some sporting big guns were present at the screening. Representatives from London 2012 and Fifa, football's world governing body, were among those donning the dark glasses. Francis Tellier, the man in charge of broadcasting the Fifa World Cup was hedging his bets, "This is not for today. But things move so fast, who knows what time-frame we are working toward?"

Sportswear company Reebok are using 3-D as a promotional tool, creating a short film to showcase their sponsorship of boxer Amir Khan.

"We were interested in a way of getting closer to the action," says Steve Martin, chief executive of M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment. "It's expensive to create, but Reebok were interested because they would get first-mover advantage, it's always about being first. Once it becomes commonplace, brands will move on to something else".

Likewise, cinema owners view 3-D as a way of putting some distance between themselves and the burgeoning home-cinema market. According to Screen Digest, there were 47 digital 3-D screens in the UK by the end of 2007, with forecasts suggesting this number will rise to 429 by 2011. Of the 1,298 digital 3-D screens worldwide at the end of 2007, 75 per cent were in America. Many Hollywood studios have either recently released 3-D movies, or have them in production. Disney-Pixar is re-releasing the 1995 hit animation film Toy Story in 3-D, ahead of the third movie in the series, also in 3-D, in 2010. Rival animation giant, DreamWorks, has committed to producing all its movies in 3-D from 2009. U2 3-D, a film of the Irish supergroup's live act, is currently in cinemas and Beowulf, starring Ray Winstone, got a pre-Christmas 3-D release.

It's the domestic television market that will determine whether 3-D becomes the next big thing, or just another passing technology. This may be a harder sell. There has been confusion and irritation over the roll-out of new widescreen high-definition TV sets, with many customers complaining that they bought an LCD set in anticipation of watching HD, only to be later advised that what they really needed was yet another expensive upgrade.

To get the full 3-D effect, viewers will need to buy a stereoscopic television. Phillips has developed a prototype 132-inch 3-D TV that offers an "out of screen" experience and does not require viewers to wear glasses.

"Now we need enough viewers to make it worthwhile," says Chris Dyer of the 3-D consortium. Domestic sales will get a boost from the computer-games industry, which is producing compatible titles. "Once gamers have their screens they won't just want to play their games, they will want 3-D content," says Dyer.

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April and May Events

CSC @ 3DC
by Cascade Stereoscopic Club members
April 3 - May 18, 2008

Koi Pond
by Don Birkley

First Thursday, April 3 features in opening reception with the artists will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Admission is free.

An exhibition of large stereo prints by CSC members includes work by

  • Peter Abrahams
  • David W. Allen
  • Jim Apilado
  • Don Birkley
  • Ron Kriesel
  • Paul Moeller
  • Greg Marshall
  • Lee Norville
  • Obie O’Brien
  • Jim Olsen
  • Ray Rowe
  • Bob Schlesinger
  • David Thompson
  • Linda Thompson
  • Jerry Weigel

In the Stereo Theatre April 3 - May 18, 2008

The Towers of Simon Rodia
by Tom Koester

This 3-D film provides a tour of the famous Watts Towers while describing the story of their construction and abandonment by Simon Rodia (1879-1965) and subsequent preservation brought about by a grassroots public effort and the City of L.A.

Making Custom View-Master® Reels
Taught by Shab Levy
Class begins May 21 and will be held from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Wednesdays for six weeks, May 21, 28 and June 4, 11, 18 and 25.
$75 for general or $60 for friend (Level 2 or higher)

Due to the overwhelming response to the Fall 2007 classes, the 3-D Center is offering an expanded six week class on how to make your own View-Master® reels.

The first two sessions will act as a short introduction or a brush up on basic skills needed to create stereo images with a digital camera, slide bar and Photoshop. The class will then focus on learning to make small quantities of custom View-Master® reels.

This is a hands-on class which will also require work done at home. You must own a copy of Adobe Photoshop (or have access to the software) and know the fundamentals. Students will be able to use the software on the Center’s computer during class time and may be able to schedule other use at times when the Center is not open to the public.

The fees for the class do not include expenses for film, processing or equipment. You must own a digital camera and you are responsible for processing the digital files and buying your own blank VM reels and a viewer.

If you have any questions about what will be covered in this class or your preparedness for it, please get in touch with Shab directly at shab@comcast.net.

The 3-D Center of Art and Photography is located at 1928 NW Lovejoy in Portland, Oregon. Call (503) 227-6667.

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Auction Results

WInchester Bullets View-Master display


WInchester Bullets View-Master display

WInchester Bullets View-Master display
A Winchester Bullets View-Master® display sold for $34.99 with one bid.
The Power Point Bullet Cardboard store display (Power Point Stops Whitetail Faster) measures approximately 12" wide x 7" deep x 18" high.

Civil War stereoview

A Civil War stereoview showing KIA Confederate Soldiers Antietam sold for $516.60 with 10 bids. A wrenching view of the costs of battle: "Photographic Incidents of the War. / No. 566. / Confederate Soldierse as They Fell at the Battle of Antietam. / From Gardner's Gallery, corner of 7th [and D Streets] Washington D.C. / Negative [by Alexander Gardner] / E. & H.T. Anthony, 501 Broadway [New-York]." Some of the reverse label is missing on the back. Credit line below the images as follows: "Entered according to the Act of Congress in the year 1862 by ALEX. GARDNER, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Columbia."

Lincoln Chair of His Assassination stereoview

A stereoview of Lincoln's assassination chair sold for $350 with 7 bids. Stereoview of the chair Lincoln was sitting in at the time of his assassination at the Ford Theatre. Lincoln was seated in the State Box, where he was shot and killed by John Wilkes Booth. From the Ostendorf Collection, dated 1865.

Plantation stereoview

A stereoview of Alexander Knox's Plantation sold for $787.77 with 10 bids. G.N. Barnard South Carolina Stereoview "Front of Saw Mill and Box Factory" on Alex. Knox's Plantation, Mount Pleasant, near Charleston, S.C.

RBT X2 3-D camera

An RBT X2 3-D camera sold for $620 with 20 bids. It’s the 24x36 model with 75mm separation giving 18 exposures per roll.

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